debono·dog (noun):
1: a dog whose behavior sets them apart from others in undesirable ways
2: a social misfit


Who am I? 

Hi, my name is Steve DeBono and I’ve been working with dogs and dog behavior since 2002. Through The DeBono Dog Center, my behavior and recovery center formerly located in Austin, TX, and my recent work with shelter organizations around the country, I’ve helped hundreds of people and organizations help their dogs severe behavior issues related to fear and “aggressive” behavior.  I have a Masters in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, where I studied dog behavior as part of Dr. Sam Gosling’s Animal Personality Research Lab.

I’ve always been drawn to the most behaviorally challenged dogs – those are the pups for me – I call them the “debonodogs”. 

I am now located in Oklahoma City, and debonodogs is my new project aimed at providing the highest level of behavior services on a “pay what you can” basis.


Why “Pay What You Can”? 

My intent is for shelters, rescues, dog trainers, and dog parents who want access to high quality behavior help to have it, so while I am running a business, I believe that money should never be the reason why a person or organization can’t get the help they need. I also think that the reason some people don’t get help is because they feel like they are risking something, and I don’t want anyone to feel that. So here’s my pricing policy: Simply pay what you can.

Each service I provide has a recommended fee that you can pay after you’ve received the service. If you can pay that fee without it causing significant financial stress then it would be greatly appreciated. If, however, the amount of that fee is something that will cause you to worry, or will prevent you from getting help, just ignore it, pay whatever you can comfortably afford, or even nothing at all – no catches, no pressure. In other words, if you need help, don’t let money stop you. All I ask in return is that you understand that for our help to be effective, you’ll likely need to let go of some old habits and notions and put the work in on your own. 

I consider myself very lucky to be able to help people and organizations provide better lives for their dogs. Whatever your financial situation, there is just no reason not to see how working with us can improve your situation. 

I want to thank you in advance for taking what you learn from us and applying it to your organizations and lives. I think you’ll find it’s worth it.


A little about my behavior  philosophy:

Aggressive behavior is a response to a situation that causes an inner emotion – most often a feeling of fear, threat, or insecurity. My goal is to carefully expose dogs to these situations in a way they find fun, building their confidence and reducing their fears and associated aggressive behavior.

I don’t use shock collars, prong collars, or any other tool intended to suppress behavior by inflicting pain or fear because they cause more harm than good. Self-proclaimed trainers defaulting to those tools are charlatans that don’t have a clue about behavior.

I’m not interested in offering band-aid solutions or making people pay for a bunch of services that skirt around the issue. Behavior is complicated and fluid – this isn’t like fixing a car or a computer – I can’t always predict exact outcomes. But what I can promise is that we are always going to work with you to directly and comprehensively overcome the problems you are having, so that you can finally achieve peace of mind.


In loving memory of Carla Bowles

Carla was a guardian angel to so many people and dogs – she always gave and gave and then gave some more. I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today had she and her husband Chuck not come into my life, first as clients, then as friends. My work and the work of debonodogs is dedicated to Carla – I hope to keep Carla’s spirit present in everything we do. 

Marley and Gypsy, two of Carla and Chuck’s many wonderful pups!




Playlist: Fundamental Principles of Teaching Dogs Stuff